HYDERABAD: Teams comprising police officers, Agriculture and TS Seeds Development Corporation officials have been busy raiding shops of wholesalers to check for spurious seeds. As Vanakalam approaches, huge quantities of spurious seeds are being seized across the State. Farmers are scared that this Vanakalam might yet again spell doom for them.
In Asifabad’s Chintala Manepally Mandal, 21 quintals of illegal Bt-3 cotton seeds, worth Rs 42 lakh, were recently seized. On May 17, a special operation team seized spurious cotton seeds weighing over 4 kgs from a vehicle at Thondupally toll gate that was on its way from Nandyal.
When the government’s focus on fighting the Covid pandemic, farmer associations are scared they might fall prey to spurious seeds this Vanakalam. “Of the total land under cultivation in the State, more than half would be cotton. Each year, farmers have reported that 10 to 15 lakhs acres of the yield is affected by spurious seeds,” said T Sagar, general secretary, Telangana Rythu Sangham.
He said dealers lure farmers into buying seeds at a cheaper cost. Dealers get a margin of around Rs 500 to Rs 600 on each packet and farmers, while hoping to save some money, fall into the trap. Farmers don’t even receive a receipt of the purchase. “In some instances, spurious seed packets make their way along with the stock bought by the farmer. This does not have a major impact on the overall crop, but when most of the crop is made up spurious seeds, farmers suffer huge losses,” he added.
S Anvesh Reddy, chairman, Telangana Kisan Congress, said in this Vanakalam, the situation could be worse, as the government has removed the subsidy and each bag (25 kg) of Soyabean, which was being sold for Rs 1,188, now costs Es 3,600 ‘without any guarantee’. “Government must ensure that only certified company seeds reach farmers,” he said.
‘Can only curb sale of fake seeds'
An official from the TS Seeds Development Corporation said that the government cannot completely stop this (sale of spurious seeds), “but hopefully, this year, it is under control compared to previous years